Tere Bin Episode 47: the question of whether it was re-edited and what it means

Posted on

By Maliha Rehman

Was the 47th episode of Tere Bin, which aired this week, re-edited? Were certain cataclysmic, disturbing plot twists eliminated, replaced by less emotionally triggering circumstances?

It’s possible, although no one – except Tere Bin’s makers and cast – will probably ever know for sure.

The 46th episode had ended at a cliffhanger which hinted that two main leads, Murtasim aka Wahaj Ali and Meerab aka Yumna Zaidi, may have had reached a point of no return in their star-crossed relationship. She had spat at him, screamed at him and slapped him (with great force, I wonder how many takes it took to shoot this scene!). He had, in turn, said angry words, stomped off and locked their bedroom door. The insinuation was that marital rape may take place. And if it did – if the hero, TV’s golden boy Murtasim who was kind, loving and sensitive beyond belief, committed this sin – then it would be unforgivable. There could be no happy ending for two of TV’s favorite romantic characters after such an act of violence.

It also would have had given off a very dangerous message to Tere Bin’s widespread audience: that marital rape, should the situation require it, was pardonable. If Murtasim the hero could commit it, so could anyone else if justifiably pushed to that extent. TV dramas are watched countrywide, by a very diverse audience, and can prove to be very powerful tools of persuasion.

The Tere Bin fandom, on social media particularly, was aghast. We’ve all wanted a happy ending for the lead pair for the longest time but we didn’t want it like this. We didn’t want the couple to be part of an act that was so heinous that it ruined all the notions of romance and yearning, built up with such effect over the past 46 episodes. We didn’t want to see a love story that had hooked us for five odd months to take such an ugly turn.

From my own individual perspective, I also wanted to continue to celebrate every time Tere Bin trended at number one on YouTube not just in Pakistan but also in India and other parts of the world. I wanted there to be talk about how a drama had blurred the borders between India and Pakistan, by means of its intuitive storytelling, direction, production, music and, of course, impressive acting. I wanted to celebrate Tere Bin as a drama that had set new records even in India and not let its success be diluted by the normalization of marital rape.

Amidst all this conjecture, the drama’s writer Nooran Makhdoom gave an interview to Arab News where she seemed to have had confirmed that marital rape does take place. On the other hand, actor Hira Soomro, who plays Maryam, a pivotal character in the drama, came live on Instagram and told fans that the drama couldn’t possibly go in a direction that would make them so distressed. The makers and the rest of the cast remained absolutely silent. There was confusion.

It was testament to the drama’s immense popularity that Twitter trends surfaced consistently, even while Pakistan yo-yoed from one political controversy to the other. Fans – in Pakistan and India – wanted to save Tere Bin and they ranted endlessly, daily. And finally, when the much-awaited, much-dreaded 47th episode was aired, there was no mention of marital rape.

Instead, there were multiple voiceovers as the characters cried brokenly, smashed mirrors and roamed aimlessly down busy roads. There were umpteen flashbacks. Many in the audience felt that the drama’s storyline had been changed at the last minute in response to the social media uproar. They refused to believe that two characters who were married to each other, had had some very romantic moments, could feel quite so distraught after finally having had consensual physical relations.

There were others who felt that this had always been the original storyline but it was only going to be revealed in later episodes. The social media trends had pushed the makers into revealing the story earlier than they had planned originally.

Some hardcore fans refused to blink an eyelid, insisted that this had been the story all along and were just very happy that Murtasim continued to remain their blue-eyed boy.

We all have our guesses but unless someone from the cast or the crew decides to sit down for a reveal-all interview, we’ll never know for sure.

“Do the makers think that we’re idiots?” was the question that was asked again and again on Twitter and Instagram, as memes of some of the confusing twists in the 47th episode flooded social media. At the same time, the drama’s episodes characteristically shot up to the number one trending positions on YouTube in both Pakistan and India. People were watching, in millions and billions.

In my opinion, the makers don’t take their audience for idiots but, if re-editing truly  has taken place, they take their audience very seriously. Marital rape is unfortunately a frequent trope in many Pakistani drama storylines but Tere Bin’s popularity has been in another league altogether. It’s fan-following and reach is incomparable to any other drama in recent times. As a result, the backlash following the insinuation of marital rape had also been immense. Producers and directors don’t generally go back to the drawing table with a drama that is already wrapped up and ready to stream out on TV. It’s tedious, time-consuming and costly. There was no way that most of Tere Bin’s audience would have had stopped watching the drama, no matter what. They were so hooked to it that the ratings and the revenue would have come in, regardless.

However, if producers Abdullah Kadwani and Asad Qureshi really did decide to shift around scenes and situations to rework the story, then it’s a win for all Tere Bin fans.

It’s also a win for Pakistani TV. Whether or not marital rape was part of Tere Bin’s original storyline, the uproar following the mere mention of the act indicates that viewers are no longer willing to accept certain ugly aspects to be part of the dramas that they watch.

And while we’ve all been pointing out that the story isn’t making sense anymore, that it’s often even funny, there have been times in the past also where Meerab’s belligerence, Maa Begum’s power-plays, Haya’s machinations and Murtasim’s holier-than-thou attitude have been mind-boggling. I am quite alright with getting a tad confused this time too because, when it comes to Tere Bin, I have become quite used to it. The drama’s forte from the very onset has been its constant plot twists and romance, bolstered by the efforts of a very powerful cast and crew. A logical storyline without any loopholes, however, has never been its strong point.

Confusion notwithstanding, episode 47 of Tere Bin is also a win for its makers and the actors who have very obviously worked very hard on the drama. Murtasim would have had been a cookie-cutter version of the angry young man had Wahaj Ali not added nuances to him, playing up the romance and the sensitivity to an extent that the world fell in love with him. Wahaj has long been recognized as an extraordinary actor but Murtasim has trebled his popularity and highlighted his talent.

Similarly, Meerab could have had been your usual ranting, raving, irritating heroine had Yumna Zaidi not believably depicted her conflicting emotions, her pain, her confusion. Yumna is an exceptional actress with a very strong body of work to his credit, but Tere Bin has definitely asserted that she can enact a mass-centric heroine just as easily as an off-the-wall character. Episode 47, in fact, showcases Yumna in a performance that gives you goosebumps as she shakes and cries and tries to come to terms with tragedy (rape or consensual relations that breached the story’s much-hated ‘contract’?). Entire paragraphs can be written about how Yumna makes you feel her anguish so effortlessly, so brilliantly.

Sabeena Farooq, still in the fledgling years of her career, stood her ground against the veterans in the cast and proved her mettle at playing the vamp that everyone loved to hate. She may be getting plenty of hate mail right now but regardless, her enactment of Haya has placed her squarely in the spotlight as an actor to watch out for.


Director Seraj-ul-Haq won praise for the multiple hit scenes from the drama. Producers Abdullah Kadwani and Asad Qureshi set new benchmarks, proved that they have a miraculous knack for knowing what will click with the audience and broke existing records with a drama that will always be remembered as one of the biggest hits to emerge from the Pakistani TV industry. Even the drama’s writer Nooran Makhdoom, who seemed to have had no problem at all with some very problematic notions, has demonstrated her expertise at writing a script that is absolutely filmy, larger than life and doesn’t hinge on one harrowing issue and instead, is constantly careening towards new plot twists.

Had marital rape become part of Tere Bin, the success – to my mind, at least – would have had been bittersweet. Tere Bin would have had been remembered as a hit but also a drama that pushed forward a concept that is extremely disturbing. Whether re-editing has taken place or not, the drama’s success can now be celebrated without any mention of rape.

As for the story being confusing right now. And for not making sense in certain ways. I’ll take that over the ugliness of marital rape any day. And like I said, Tere Bin has confused me many times before as well. That’s the beauty of it – it’s confusing, logic-defying, stress-inducing, riveting, addictive TV fare.


What do you think?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

No Comments Yet.